Not only will the the late Mandy Vaughn live on in the memories of family, friends and loved ones, but also on a national level in the martial arts world.
Last Saturday, July 21, Amanda Kaye Davis “Mandy” Vaughn was inducted into the U.S. Martial Arts Hall of Fame in St. Louis, Mo.
Mandy Vaughn passed away on Sept. 3, 2011 at age 32 as result of complications from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy — a disease of the heart in which a portion of the myocardium muscle thickens without any obvious cause.
Vaughn’s hall of fame plaque stated that she was inducted as “Martial Arts Inspiration.”
“We take great pride in making this the most prestigious martial arts event each and every year,” stated Professor Marty Cale, International Martial Arts Council of America Board of Directors President and CEO. “We acknowledge not just the ‘famous’ martial artists, but those that work hard to make a difference in the arts.”
Jamie Vaughn — owner of Union Karate Center — was understandably choked up during the event in which his and Mandy’s 11-year-old daughter, Jordan, accepted the induction on her mother’s behalf.
“The event was running behind, and the Master of Ceremonies was sort of zooming through it,” Jamie said. “When he got to the part about Mandy passing and Jordan accepting on her behalf, he stopped. He said, ‘Now this is what it’s all about.’ She got a standing ovation, and lots of people had tears in their eyes. Martial arts legends and UFC fighters were coming up and saying how awesome it was. It was such an honor.”
Jamie said Amanda was inducted because she truly was — and is — an inspiration. He said there were many reasons such as always being there to support him and his martial arts students. He said his late wife was like a second mother to many of the students.
“She battled heart disease most of her adult life, but she never let it get her down,” Jamie said. “She was the one who convinced me to open the school up and put money into it. Every time I wanted to quit, she wouldn’t let me. She said, ‘you can’t quit.’”
Jamie also received an award at the induction — Master Instructor of the Year for South Carolina. He said he had been nominated for awards there before, but had never attended. He only attended this year because of Mandy’s hall of fame induction.
“My award was for the state, but hers is for the entire nation,” Jamie said. “I don’t want this to be about me at all. This is all about Mandy.”
On his Facebook page, Jamie posted a photo of Mandy’s hall of fame plaque. He captioned the picture with the following:
“The higher I climbed, the more humble I became. The more I learned, the more I realized how little I knew. They call me Master. What I have truly mastered is a deeper understanding of what it means to never give up. All for you Mandy.”